Top Business News of The Day: New auto debit rules of RBI to set in from Friday; Govt exempts COVID-19 vaccine from customs duty till Dec 31; Airtel’s Nxtra to invest Rs 5,000 cr to triple data centre capacity by 2025 and more.

Table of Contents

5:10 P.M.

LIC invites application for post of CFO; India 4th largest producer of agrochemicals, huge potential for growth and Sensex tumbles 287 pts, Nifty slips below 17,650.

Govt exempts COVID-19 vaccine from customs duty till Dec 31; Skye Air, DroneeAcharya, Flipkart consortium to start drone-based delivery of vaccines in Telangana and Skye Air, DroneeAcharya, Flipkart consortium to start drone-based delivery of vaccines in Telangana.

PayU creates Zion, a new recurring payments platform amid new auto debit rules of RBI; Govt to make it mandatory for vehicle manufacturers to make flex-fuel engines: Gadkari and Airtel’s Nxtra to invest Rs 5,000 cr to triple data centre capacity by 2025.

4:42 P.M.

LIC invites application for post of CFO

IPO-bound insurance behemoth LIC has invited applications from eligible candidates for the post Chief Financial Officer (CFO). Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) in a public notice said that the post of CFO would be contractual in nature and the CFO would get remuneration of about Rs 75 lakh per annum.

The appointment would be for a period of three years or 63 years of age whichever is earlier, it said, adding, performance will be reviewed on a half-yearly basis. The last date for submitting application is October 12, 2021, it said.

The move to hire a CFO follows a decision to redesignate LIC’s top post to chief executive officer from chairman earlier this year following amendment to Life Insurance Corporation Act 1956 through the Finance Bill 2021, PTI reported.

4:38 P.M.

India 4th largest producer of agrochemicals, huge potential for growth: Tomar

India is the fourth-largest producer of agrochemicals in the world, and the sector has a huge potential for growth with the help of research, innovation and a speedy registration system, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar has said.

Addressing the 41st AGM of CroplifeIndia, an apex body of 15 Crop science companies, Tomar said the Centre has launched a digital agriculture mission and focusing on the use of drones in the farm sector, PTI reported.

4:36 P.M.

Govt exempts COVID-19 vaccine from customs duty till Dec 31

The government has exempted customs duty on COVID-19 vaccines for three months till December 31, which will boost domestic availability and make them cheaper, PTI reported.

In a notification dated September 29, the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) said the exemption would come into force on October 1, 2021, and remain in force up to December 31, 2021.

4:23 P.M.

Gold declines Rs 154; silver cracks Rs 1,337

Gold in the national capital on Thursday declined by Rs 154 to Rs 44,976 per 10 gram reflecting an overnight decline in international precious metal prices, according to HDFC Securities.

Silver also dipped Rs 1,337 to Rs 57,355 per kilogram from Rs 58,692 per kilogram in the previous trade.

In the international market, gold was trading with marginal gains at USD 1,733 per ounce and silver was flat at USD 21.64 per ounce, PTI reported.

4:17 P.M.

Skye Air, DroneeAcharya, Flipkart consortium to start drone-based delivery of vaccines in Telangana

Skye Air along with DroneAcharya, under Fipkart Air consortium, has commenced drone-based logistics transportation for delivery of vaccines in Telanganan.

Flipkart, the e-commerce giant, has partnered with the Telangana government to enable the drone deployment for the delivery of medical supplies in remote areas of the state amid the pandemic for its ‘Medicines from the Sky’ project, PTI reported.

4:15 P.M.

HDFC Bank, HDFC Securities invest USD 1 mn in Borderless Softtech

HDFC Bank and HDFC Securities invested about Rs 7.4 crore in Borderless Softtech, which runs global investment platform Stockal, as part of Pre-Series A funding.

Borderless Softtech is a subsidiary of US-based Borderless Investing Inc, PTI reported.

4:14 P.M.

Sensex tumbles 287 pts; Nifty slips below 17,650

Sliding for the third straight day, Sensex dropped 287 points on Thursday amid losses in index majors Reliance Industries, Infosys and ICICI Bank as monthly derivatives expired.

BSE index ended 286.91 points or 0.48% lower at 59,126.36. Similarly, the NSE Nifty declined 93.15 points or 0.53% to 17,618.15.

PowerGrid was the top loser in the Sensex pack followed by Asian Paints, Axis Bank, Kotak Bank, Bajaj Auto, SBI and M&M. On the other hand, Bajaj Finserv, Bajaj Finance, NTPC, Sun Pharma and HUL were among the gainers, PTI reported.

4:09 P.M.

PayU creates Zion, a new recurring payments platform amid new auto debit rules of RBI

PayU has created a recurring payments platform known as Zion. It provides multiple features with additional factor authentication, notifications to customers and dashboard for subscription management.

It is designed to adhere to all aspects of subscription payments with minimum integration effort required from banks. PayU is currently working with key banking institutions and issuers to enable them to integrate the new platform.

PayU is working towards introducing new innovations and making stakeholders future-ready to ensure technology readiness under RBI’s auto-debit guidelines, effective from Oct 1, 2021, Manas Mishra, Chief Product Officer, PayU said to The Hindu.

3:17 P.M.

Maruti Suzuki launches virtual car assistant ‘S-Assist’ for Nexa customers

India’s largest car maker Maruti Suzuki India Ltd on Thursday launched a virtual car assistant app called ‘S-Assist’ based on artificial intelligence to help in post-purchase experience to customers.

Available at free of cost to customers of the company’s cars sold through its premium outlet NEXA chain, the S-Assist provides multi-media content like do-it-yourself videos, digital literature, and workshop assistance on smartphones, PTI reported.

Besides, the app gives car owners access to over 4,120 Maruti Suzuki workshops across India, which enables customers to call and navigate to their nearest workshop , the company said in a statement.

3:14 P.M.

Govt to make it mandatory for vehicle manufacturers to make flex-fuel engines: Gadkari

Union minister Nitin Gadkari on Thursday said that the government will make it mandatory for all vehicle manufacturers to make flex-fuel engines, after it gets permission from the Supreme Court.

Flex-fuel, or flexible fuel, is an alternative fuel made of a combination of gasoline and methanol or ethanol, PTI reported.

3:13 P.M.

Max Life AUM crosses Rs 1 lakh crore, grows 6 times in over a decade

Max Life Insurance Co Ltd on Thursday said its assets under management (AUM) have now crossed Rs 1 lakh crore, registering a growth of six times in over a decade.

Max Life has scaled a significant business milestone by achieving Rs 1 lakh crore of AUM as of September 23, with an inordinate focus on financial protection, product innovation, and digitisation, PTI reported.

3:11 P.M.

New auto debit rules of RBI to set in from Friday

With the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) extended deadline coming to an end, there will be no automatic recurring payment for various services including recharge and utility bill as the additional factor of authentication (AFA) will become mandatory from Friday.

On December 4, RBI had directed all banks including RRBs, NBFCs, and payment gateways that the processing of recurring transactions (domestic or cross-border) using cards or Prepaid Payment Instruments (PPIs) or Unified Payments Interface (UPI) under arrangements/practices not compliant with AFA would not be continued beyond March 31, 2021, PTI reported.

“The recurring payments economy has tremendous potential in a market like India. RBI’s initiatives will fuel sustainable growth and innovation in the subscription economy in the long run,” Manas Mishra, Chief Product Officer, PayU said to The Hindu.

3:10 P.M.

Financial services company FIS to hire 10,000 people in India

Global financial services provider FIS on Thursday announced plans to hire 10,000 people in India in the next one year amid increasing investment and growth prospects.

As part of its 12-month recruitment drive across India, the company plans to onboard more than 10,000 people at all levels and there will be a special focus to hire graduates from tier II and III cities, PTI reported.

3:08 P.M.

Hydro Projects: Govt issues guidelines for budgetary support for flood moderation

The power ministry has issued guidelines for budgetary support for flood moderation and to create enabling infrastructure like roads, bridges with regard to hydro power projects. According to a power ministry statement, the basic objective of the budgetary support for these components is to reduce tariff levels of these projects, thus ensuring that the consumers are charged cost related to power components only.

The financial value of flood moderation will be worked by technical agencies, like CWC, in accordance with the guidelines, PTI reported.

3:05 P.M.

Tata Steel divests 100 pc stake in NatSteel Holdings for 1,275 crore

Tata Steel on Thursday said it has divested its 100% stake in NatSteel Holdings Pte Ltd, Singapore for about Rs 1,275 crore.

NatSteel Holdings is a steel-making unit under T S Global Holdings (TSGH) Singapore, a 100% indirect subsidiary of India-headquartered Tata Steel Limited, PTI reported.

2:06 P.M.

Airtel’s Nxtra to invest Rs 5,000 cr to triple data centre capacity by 2025

Bharti Airtel’s subsidiary Nxtra on Thursday said it will invest Rs 5,000 crore to triple its data centre capacity by 2025.

The company will set up 7 hyperscale campuses and increase the share of green power in running data centres to 50% from 35% at present, PTI reported.

1:43 P.M.

Medanta brand-owner Global Health files IPO papers with Sebi

Global Health Limited, which operates and manages hospitals under the Medanta brand, has filed preliminary papers with capital market regulator Sebi to raise funds through an initial share-sale.

The initial public offering (IPO) consists of a fresh issue of equity shares aggregating to Rs 500 crore, and an offer for sale of up to 4.84 crore equity shares, according to the draft red herring prospectus (DRHP), PTI reported.

1:42 P.M.

India one of the fastest growing mkts with over 2,100 operational fintechs: Goyal

India is poised to become one of the largest digital markets with rapid expansion of mobile and internet as the country is one of the fastest growing markets with over 2,100 fintechs operational, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said on Thursday.

JAM (Jan Dhan, Aadhaar and Mobile) trinity has enabled India to leverage its technical capabilities for developing the fintech sector, he said at the Global Fintech Fest 2021, PTI reported.

1:38 P.M.

NTPC REL signs first green term loan pact of Rs 500 cr with Bank of India

State-run power giant NTPC on Thursday said its arm NTPC Renewable Energy Ltd (NTPC REL) has signed the first green term loan agreement of Rs 500 crore with Bank of India.

NTPC REL will use this for its 470 MW solar project in Rajasthan and 200 MW solar project in Gujarat, a company statement said.

A green loan is a type of loan instrument that enables borrowers to finance projects that have an environmental impact, PTI reported.

1:34 P.M.

BP leads USD 25 mn funding round in EV ride-hailing start-up BluSmart

BP Ventures has made its first direct investment in India by pumping in USD 13 million in integrated EV ride-hailing and charging company BluSmart, PTI reported.

“BluSmart will use the capital to expand its fleet of electric vehicles and charging stations from its home city of Delhi to five additional Indian cities in the next two years,” the firm said.

BluSmart is India’s first and largest integrated EV ride-hailing and charging company, and aims to deliver safer, cleaner and more sustainable mobility.

1:30 P.M.

Facebook launches creator education programme in India to help creators earn, grow communities

Facebook on Thursday launched its largest creator education and enablement programme in India to provide content creators on its platform and Instagram an opportunity to learn, earn and grow their communities, PTI reported.

The programme will provide live master classes with experts, the latest information on trends, product updates and challenges to help creators keep up with what’s unfolding on Instagram. At the end of the course, the participants will receive a course completion letter as well, said Ajit Mohan, Facebook India Vice President and Managing Director.

It will also give creators the opportunity to real monetary opportunities through various programmes, he pointed out.

 

Asian shares calmed today after this week’s heavy China-driven losses although the dollar sat at a more than one-year high against major peers. India’s Sensex and Nifty opened flat tracking weakness in Asian markets. Chinese factory activity contracted in September for the first time since the height of its initial coronavirus outbreak in February 2020.

While the oil prices fell after official figures showed an unexpected rise in inventories in the United States, petrol and diesel prices in India neared record levels after rates were hiked by 25 paise and 30 paise a litre respectively.

Social commerce platform Meesho raised $570 million (about Rs 4,235.2 crore) in funding, led by Fidelity Management & Research Company and B Capital Group, taking its valuation to $4.9 billion in less than five months.

1:00 P.M.

HC dismisses Avantha Group promoter Gautam Thapar’s plea challenging arrest

The Delhi High Court Thursday dismissed a plea by Avantha Group promoter Gautam Thapar, arrested by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with a Rs 500-crore money laundering case, PTI reported.

Thapar challenged his arrest on the ground that he was produced before the trial court after the expiry of statutorily mandated 24 hours. He had approached the high court challenging a trial court’s August 5 order by which his plea to declare his arrest as illegal was dismissed without recording reasons.

12:50 P.M.

Diesel at record high, petrol nears all-time high

Petrol and diesel prices neared record levels across the country after rates were hiked by 25 paise and 30 paise a litre respectively, PTI reported.

The price of petrol was hiked to Rs 101.64 a litre in Delhi and to Rs 107.71 per litre in Mumbai, according to a price notification of state-owned fuel retailers.

Diesel rates increased to Rs 89.87 a litre in Delhi and Rs 97.52 in Mumbai. Prices differ from state to state depending on the incidence of local taxes.

12:45 P.M.

China’s electric carmakers make their move on Europe

China’s electric carmakers are darting into Europe, hoping to catch traditional auto giants cold and seize a slice of a market supercharged by the continent’s drive towards zero emissions, Reuters reported.

Nio Inc, among a small group of challengers, launches its ES8 electric SUV in Oslo on Thursday – the first foray outside China for a company that is virtually unheard of in Europe even though it’s valued at about $57 billion.

Other brands unfamiliar to many Europeans that have started selling or plan to sell cars on the continent include Aiways, BYD’s Tang, SAIC’s MG, Dongfeng’s VOYAH, and Great Wall’s ORA.

12:30 P.M.

IPOs slow down globally in Q3 after frenetic 2021 start

Initial public offerings (IPO) globally slowed in the third quarter of 2021 from their previous frenetic pace, but the number of listings in the first nine months of the year still was the highest since the dotcom bubble of 2000, Reuters reported.

IPOs in the third quarter raised a total of about $94.6 billion, down 26.3% from the second quarter, as activity cooled due to a summer slowdown and U.S. scrutiny of Chinese listings following Beijing’s crackdown on DiDi Global Inc just days after its New York IPO.

More than 2,000 IPOs have raised a combined $421 billion globally year-to-date, a record high, as private companies rushed to attain the soaring valuations of their publicly listed peers. That was more than double the proceeds raised during the same period last year.

11:55 A.M.

ABB launches world’s fastest electric car charger

ABB has launched the world’s fastest electric car charger as it presses ahead with plans to spin off the business which could be valued at around $3 billion, Reuters reported.

The Swiss engineering company said its new Terra 360 modular charger can charge up to four vehicles at once, and can fully charge any electric car within 15 minutes.

The device, which can deliver 100km of range in less than 3 minutes, will be available in Europe and the United States by the end of the year, it added. Latin America and the Asia Pacific regions are due to follow in

 2022.

11:35 A.M.

Indian Overseas Bank shares jump 20%

Shares of Indian Overseas Bank jumped 20% after the Reserve Bank removed it from the Prompt Corrective Action Framework (PCAF), PTI reported.

The stock climbed 20% to Rs 24.60 on the BSE, and gained 19.80% to Rs 24.50 on NSE.

The Reserve Bank on Wednesday removed Indian Overseas Bank from the Prompt Corrective Action Framework (PCAF), following improvement in various parameters and a written commitment that the state-owned lender will comply with the minimum capital norms.

11:15 A.M.

Meesho raises $570 million funding, valuation reaches $4.9 billion

Social commerce platform Meesho has raised $570 million (about Rs 4,235.2 crore) in funding, led by Fidelity Management & Research Company and B Capital Group, PTI reported.

The recent funding has helped the company more than double its valuation to $4.9 billion in less than five months. Existing investors – Prosus Ventures, SoftBank Vision Fund 2 and Facebook also participated in this round, a statement said.

In April, Meesho had raised $300 million (about Rs 2,201.7 crore) in a funding round from SoftBank Vision Fund 2 and others, which had pushed its valuation to $2.1 billion. Till date, the company has raised over USD 1 billion.

11:10 A.M.

Rupee falls 22 paise to 74.36 against US dollar

The Indian rupee depreciated 22 paise to 74.36 against the US dollar in opening trade on Thursday, amid a muted trend in domestic equities, PTI reported.

The rupee opened on a weak note at 74.28, and fell further to 74.36 against the dollar, registering a decline of 22 paise from the last close.

In the previous session on Wednesday, the rupee had settled at 74.14 against the US dollar.

11:00 A.M.

Free Trade Agreement is the next frontier in India-US relationship: USIBC president

A Free Trade Agreement is the next frontier in the India-US relationship, the head of a top India-centric business advocacy group has said, PTI reported.

Nisha Desai Biswal, president of US-India Business Council and a former US diplomat, at a dinner hosted by Indiaspora said it is not tenable for the two largest economies of the world to not have a trade architecture in place between them, though its path is riddled with “all kinds of obstacles”.

“The time has come for us to get serious about where the next frontier is in US India ties. And neither for the United States, nor for India, is it tenable for two of the largest economies in the world to be outside of the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) and to not have a trade architecture in place between the two of them,” Nisha Desai Biswal said.

10:45 A.M.

The king of oil bets on batteries

Alex Beard is losing his thirst for oil.

Once one of the world’s most powerful oil traders, the former Glencore executive is now raising money to build a portfolio of strategic battery sites across the United Kingdom to support the renewable energy industry, Reuters reported.

In his first interview since leaving the commodities giant in 2019, billionaire Beard said his Adaptogen Capital investment fund planned to build storage with a capacity of at least 500 megawatts (MW) to power homes when grid supplies fall short.

10:20 A.M.

Decision on Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin in October : WHO

A decision on Bharat Biotech’s submission seeking emergency use listing (EUL) for its Covaxin COVID-19 vaccine will be made in October, PTI reported citing the World Health Organisation.

Bharat Biotech had submitted EOI (Expression of Interest) on April 19 for its vaccine. The latest ‘Status of COVID-19 vaccines within WHO EUL/PQ evaluation process’ guidance document dated September 29 on the WHO website said that the decision date for Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin is “October 2021”.

The WHO said it began rolling data of the vaccine on July 6. Rolling data allows the WHO to start its review right away, as information continues to come in, to accelerate the overall review process.

10:10 A.M.

China factory activity shrinks for first time since February 2020

Chinese factory activity contracted in September for the first time since the height of its initial coronavirus outbreak in February 2020, AFP reported.

The Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) — a key gauge of manufacturing activity in the world’s second-largest economy — slipped to 49.6 from 50.1 in August, the National Bureau of Statistics said. A figure below the 50-point mark represents contraction, while above it indicates growth.

The growing power crisis, exacerbated by local government restrictions on factories to cut energy use, has led some major banks to lower their annual growth forecast for China, while there are also concerns about the impact on supply chains for global firms such as Apple and Tesla.

9:50 A.M.

Government begins Air India bid evaluation

The government has begun evaluation of financial bids received from Tata Group and SpiceJet founder for the acquisition of Air India, PTI reported.

With this, the privatisation process of the national flag carrier has moved to the next phase and the financial bids are being evaluated against an undisclosed reserve price. The bid offering the highest price above that benchmark would be accepted.

If successful, this will mark the return of Air India to Tata fold after 67 years.

9:25 A.M.

Sensex, Nifty open flat

The Indian equity benchmark indices opened on a flat note tracking weakness in Asian markets amid mixed global ciues.

 At 9:16 IST, the Sensex was up 0.07% at 59.456.56 and the Nifty was up 0.05% at 17,719.40.

9:15 A.M.

Oil falls after U.S. inventories post surprise gain

Oil prices fell after official figures showed an unexpected rise in inventories in the United States although prices seem to have stabilised following a recent run of gains, Reuters reported.

Brent crude was down 11 cents at $78.53 a barrel while U.S. oil fell 5 cents to $74.78 a barrel.

U.S. oil and fuel stockpiles increased last week, the U.S. Energy Department’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) said on Wednesday.

9:00 A.M.

Asian stocks steady as calm returns

Asian shares found some calm following this week’s heavy China-driven losses although the dollar sat at a more than one-year high against major peers, Reuters reported.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan dropped 0.06%, while the Nikkei lost 0.36% a day after Japan’s ruling party chose softly spoken consensus-builder Fumio Kishida as its new leader and the country’s new prime minister.

Hong Kong stocks fell 1% but these were balanced by a 1.1% rise in Australia. Chinese blue chips gained 0.5% after data published showed China’s services sector returned to expansion in September after COVID-19 outbreaks receded.

Minnie Arwood

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